Weʼre raising £5,000 to my forthcoming poetry book: ''Song of the Red Ant''.
- Kaduna, Nigeria
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How it All Started, And Now!
I have been rallying around publishers who could publish ''Song of the Red Ant'' for the past eleven months, but to NO avail. The poetry collection was FOREWARDED by Professor Alexander Kure: '' Francis Annagu’s Song of the Red Ant testifies to his commitment and engagement with ‘today’s poetry’ – the poetry that opens up the hidden wounds on our bodies to show us how we have manufactured whips – of bad governance, of injustice, of ethno-religious tensions that, unfortunately, have institutionalized hatred the world over, among other things – with which we continue to tear our bodies open without restrain. The concern with the liminality of the African space is captured in the poem ‘Nduru i’ where the persona portrays Africans as ‘Nduru with/ numerous voices/perched on palm fronts’ (lines 20-21). This signification is crucial especially to the Nigerian reality to the extent that it shows how we, being blessed with natural resources (signified by palm fronts as its metaphor) allow ‘the ants’ and ‘antelopes/ bees and butterflies’ (the political class) to ‘suck’ from our ‘nature’s pond’ as we, like the hummingbirds, continue ‘humming into…watery ears.’ The significance of this portraiture exposes how the division among the masses has rendered their voices cacophonous: an echo heard only by the element that creates the sound. The poet’s engagement with eco-aesthetics in the section ‘Kukuruku: Populists Songs’ is revealing in a number of ways. First, it unveils ways through which insensitive government policies lay behind the continent’s façade of antisocial realities, be it militancy, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, cyber-crimes etc. This is succinctly captured in the poem ‘Cinema News’ where the persona decries that ‘per capita income/ below poverty-line/ for food, shelter or clothes/ a brutal policy/ render the people antisocial’. By capturing this reality, the poet hints that the humanity of a people is a correlate of the policies of their constituted authorities and that the ideology of government (directly or indirectly) legitimizes the ‘economic practices’ – militancy, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, sharp practices, etc. – of a people per time. Second, it presents the economic experiences of Africa, in the context of third world nations, as a travesty of western economic policies. This is captured in the ‘BBC Weather Forecast’ where the persona says: ‘[a]s we wait the/vulture’s weather forecast/from the butcher’s roof/let the cow…endure the ravaging heat’. This is symptomatic of the Nigerian reality to the extent that Nigeria’s economy was said to have relapsed into recession moments after the President of World Bank visited Nigeria.
The section titled “Vuvuzela: African Songs” calls on Africans to be awakened to the hopelessness in and rottenness of government across most African states and by so doing, rise to the task of forging a self-reviving culture by [re]defining their future by themselves. This, according to the persona in the poem “Sunrise in Buguza”, is because “the eagle has taught them a lesson/how to weave their future/ into a formidable shape…” This call is timely considering the ways one government after the other leaves the people worst off than they met them.
On the whole, the collection Song of the Red Ant is a shrilling voice that will continue to reverberate on the mind of any reader concerned with the state of the post-colony in Africa. In a challenging posture, Francis Annagu uses this collection to comment on contemporary developments in Africa. His overall interest is to focus on the inherent and destructive effect of humanity typical of the post-modernist era in which we live.
Prof. Alexander Kure
Department of English and Drama
Kaduna State University
Kaduna - NIGERIA
I am an award-winning poet--won the Best Of The Net by Parousia Magazine, and was shortlisted for the Erbace Poetry Prize. My second poetry publisher, Paul Hawkins released ''Our Land in the Beak of Vultures''; https://hesterglockpress.weebly.com/francis-annagu---our-land-in-the-beak-of-vultures.html
My literary works have been featured in London Grip New Poetry, Potomac Journal, Dead Snakes, Libations for Nigeria Anthology, Crannog Magazine, and over twenty-five poetry magazines around the world.
Song of the Red Ant is ready for publishing--this was the feedback I received from Delta Publications (NIG.) Ltd:
Hello Francis Annagu,
First thank you for giving us the chance to consider your collection of poems. I have personally taken the trouble to go through it in one sitting, and do not find the need for a second opinion from our editors. It is obviously a skilful effort, profound, sophisticated and high-brow, written with a clear ring of truth, involving aspects of African life which many may applaud in these so-called enlightened days, and perhaps many more abhor. It would be ideal for adult reading and for students of senior secondary and university levels. The best I can propose is a co-publishing arrangement - whereby you would find
a sponsor to underwrite the costs of production into volume book form, and we would come in by way of providing out imprint, logo, motto, ISBN and oversee good quality production. For these professional services, we would make no charge, but on production of the finished books, we would take 10% of the quantity produced in lieu of payment. The rest of the stock would be your entire property. If requested to do so, we would provide - upon negotiation - further assistance by way of consultancy services on marketing and PR strategies to enhance sales. This book, under our imprint, would be of a size Demy 8VO format (8.5 inches deep by 5.75 inches wide). We would recommend that you start with producing 200 promotional copies, which you would launch in order to recover your initial outlay and record some profit. We would advise and guide you on the launching strategies as part of consultancy. Thereafter you would print a larger quantity for schools. 200 copies at the current rate of printing materials would cost N120,000 to produce - to make 88 pages of a perfect-bound laminated book. But you may wish to get your own quotation from sundry printers, though we are confident none would give you a more competitive quotation. Do feel free to present your own views soonest, bearing in mind the end-of-year rise in the costs of printing materials. You may reply via this email, or directly to me by phone on 080 2886 2786. Cheers for now.
Delta Publications (Nigeria) Limited
Please, I need your support to publish this MS in printed pages. $5,000 for 2000 printed copies will do to realize my dream of publishing this phenomenal book of poems. If I get funding, production shall commence in October, and backers will receive their signed copies in November to December. You can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/francis.annagu.7 or read from my first published collection http://www.classicagepublishing.co.za/books/ to search ''Rain Upon Us''.
Thank you a lot for supporting poetry!
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About the fundraiser
Francis Annagu hails from Kaduna--an academic writer, and rights activist. One time Nominated Best Of The Net by Parousia Magazine. Shortlisted for the Erbacce Poetry Prize in England, he’s regarded today as Southern Kaduna most prominent poetic voice.
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